Following the creation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) which brought together prisons and probation in 2004, the previous Government carried out a programme of reform, converting probation boards into probation trusts, which are contracted to deliver local probation services.
This was to be followed by the introduction of competition for some aspects of delivery. In addition, the concept of "offender management" has evolved considerably since the Offender Management Act 2007 was passed.
The coalition Government has announced that it wishes to introduce a 'rehabilitation revolution' that will pay independent providers to reduce reoffending, paid for by the savings this new approach could generate within the criminal justice system.
In this context the Justice Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role of the probation service.
The Committee held an on-line forum in this inquiry.
The inquiry has now finished and a Report (PDF) has been published.